Symptoms can vary from mild to extreme and, in some cases, they can quickly result in a child struggling to breathe.
No parent wishes for their child to have an allergic reaction to a food item but it is important to recognise the signs and symptoms so that you can act quickly. Time is precious when it comes to an allergic reaction.
They can vary from mild to extreme and in some cases, they can quickly result in a child struggling to breathe. This is a very scary thought for any parent but knowledge is power in this case.
Allergic reactions won’t always come from a food group. For some children, they are triggered by pollen, an insect bite or being around a particular animal. Many of these reactions are not severe and may take time to figure out. It may be a subtle change in behaviour or appearance that you notice over time.
In the case of a mild allergic reaction, your child’s skin may appear to be redder in colour than normal. You may notice very slight swelling and they may be itching the skin in various places around their body. For these milder allergies, cold-like symptoms are also very common. Many children who experience hay fever (a pollen allergy) may have itchy watery eyes along with a stuffy nose and persistent sneezing. In these cases, a mild antihistamine may help as well as changing some lifestyle factors to help reduce exposure to the allergen.
In the case of food groups and weaning your baby it is important to keep a record of the new foods you introduce as you go along. This will help you to identify any patterns or reactions that occur as they happen. They may be mild symptoms that do not worry you greatly but they may help you build a case in the future should the allergy worsen or develop in other ways. For many children, a dairy allergy can go hand in hand with eczema and asthma for example.
For more severe allergies the symptoms can be quite different. You may notice that their eyelids, mouth and tongue become swollen and enlarged in a matter of minutes. This can lead to difficulty in speaking, swallowing and breathing. Shortness of breath or wheezing may follow and the child may complain of pain or nausea in their tummy area. In some cases, a child will feel dizzy and possibly faint. This can be a very traumatic experience for the parent and for this reason, it is imperative that you know what to do and when to do it if this happens to your child.
In the case of a mild allergy that reoccurs, you should raise the issue with your GP. An antihistamine and lifestyle changes may be all that is needed to control the mild allergy. Your doctor may prescribe an EpiPen as a precaution in case the mild reaction leads to a severe reaction in the future. If you are prescribed an EpiPen it is important to learn how to use it properly and to ensure that it is with you at all times. It is also important than all individuals who care for your child are educated on its use also.
If you notice severe symptoms such as those listed above in the case of more extreme allergies you should call emergency services immediately.
Tracey is a happy mammy to four-year-old Billy. She is a breastfeeder, gentle parent and has recently lost five stone so healthy family eating is her passion! You can find her at www.loveofliving.ie.